Srinagar: Over 110
people dead in firing by security forces on protesters, four
months of crucial academic session washed out due to frequent
curfews and shutdowns, business worth an estimated Rs.14,000 crore
($3 billion) lost -- 2010 was indeed haunting for the Kashmir
Valley that witnessed another season of intifada, the stone
At the beginning of 2010 spring, as peace was dawning on a state
battling years of armed insurgency, the scenic valley was
preparing to welcome tourists with hopes to revive an economy in
shambles. But that was not to be.
Most of the tourist season was lost to stones - volleys of them
flying in the air every day almost all over the valley. And
security forces countered them with tear gas shells, non-lethal
weapons and even bullets.
As soon as the tourist season began to peak - some 400,000
tourists had come to Kashmir by June, the death of a teenager,
Tufail Ahmed Mattoo, in firing by security forces June 11 set off
a vicious cycle of stone-pelting agitations and killings.
Mattoo's death triggered widespread agitation against human rights
violations in the valley. Separatist leaders capitalised on the
anti-government anger by giving frequent calls for shutdowns and
asking people to hold protest marches.
In nearly five months of the uprising, 111 more civilians were
killed - painting the valley blood red.
The agitation, which revived the separatist campaign, kept the
valley closed for most of the five months due to repeated
shutdowns and curfews.
President of a business lobby, Shakeel Qalandar, said each day of
the shutdown or curfew cost Kashmir around Rs.100 crore ($22
million). The valley remained closed for about 140 days in the
"Our economic losses have mounted to Rs.14,000 crore ($3
billion)," Qalandar told IANS.
He said some 100,000 people also lost their jobs in the tourism,
manufacturing and retail sectors in the 2010 unrest.
The valley has witnessed frequent closures in the last 20 years of
separatist war. As many as 1,950 days have been lost to shutdowns
and curfews since 1990.
"Conservative estimates put the losses at around Rs.2 lakh crore
($44 billion) during the last two decades," according to Qalandar.
Education was only a collateral damage in the cycle of protests -
at the heart of which was the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali
When schools and colleges remained closed for about 115 days, the
adverse effect on education can be anybody's guess.
However, in all this maddening cycle of violence, the valley
peacefully hosted the annual Amarnath pilgrimage - the way it has
been doing since ages. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims from all over
the country travelled to the cave shrine in south Kashmir
As the year began to close and winter chill seeped in, a sort of
agitation fatigue led to a somewhat deceptive calm in the valley.
The common sarcastic slogan doing the rounds is - "Khoon ka badla
June main lenge" [We will avenge the killings - of 2010 - next
The central government also took some steps to resolve the
political problems in the state. In September, it approved an
eight-point plan for Jammu and Kashmir and released Rs.100 crore
($22 million) for grants to schools and colleges.
Three interlocutors - journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, economist M.M.
Ansari and academician Radha Kumar - were tasked to hold
"sustained and uninterrupted dialogue with all sections of the
people" in the state.
During a visit by the interlocutors to frontier district of
Kupwara Dec 22, thousands of people pledged not to throw stones at
security forces - not a bad idea to end the year full of violence.
But the pledge came with riders. The security forces should not
stop peaceful protesters and the government should take "solid and
concrete steps" for resolving the Kashmir issue, they held.
This is the third successive year Kashmir has witnessed a
politically hot summer. In 2008, prolonged agitations, including
stone pelting, was witnessed over land allotment to the Amarnath
shrine board and in 2009, the Shopian alleged rape-murder of two
women triggered widespread angry protests. But the 2010 protests
were prolonged and furious.
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